At the Planning Committee meeting on 30 June, several local board views were expressed on how Auckland Council is enabling intensification under the National Policy Statement on Urban Development (NPS-UD) and Medium Density Residential Standards.
While some local boards expressed strong support for maintaining Special Character Areas (SCAs) others said that by maintaining SCAs, further intensification would be pushed into underdeveloped areas.
Takapuna Devonport Local Board chair Ruth Jackson said her board wanted to see Auckland Council pursue a legal challenge against government. “The NPS-UD is a one size fits all approach which we do not believe can work,” Jackson said. “It focuses on quantity at the expense of quality, community, and social outcomes. Once the damage is done, it cannot be undone.”
Kaipatiki Local Board deputy chair Danielle Grant said once Auckland Council went down this path they would never be able to retain certain areas again. “I have had elderly homeowners in tears, who are deeply concerned about the lack of information, the rushed process and the uncertainty of the special character homes,” said Grant.
Henderson Massey local board member Brooke Loader called for fairness in the distribution of intensification across the city. “Already we are bursting at the seams here with development - our area has been subject to a lot of intensification,” Loader said. “Consultation was not proportionate to the population of our local board, and amongst lower-income people there was a lack of awareness about the new rules. Our constituents are coming to us with a range of complaints about infrastructure such as transport, leaks from the pipes, electricity issues, and internet connectivity issues.” Loader said her board wanted to see environmental protection through an overlay for areas in Henderson Massey like those that intersected the Waitakere ranges.
Whau Local Board member Kay Thomas said there was support in her area for intensification. “Many people in the Whau have learned to live with intensification. We have had people tell us that without intensive development they have no hope of owning their own home,” Thomas said. “Most special character areas are in so-called leafy suburbs. These suburbs are often well off in terms of community assets, while the Whau area has few assets because of its position in regard to legacy councils.” By retaining or extending SCAs, Thomas said intensification would continue to be centred on Auckland’s most deprived areas. “If deprived areas continue to experience a disproportionate share of intensification, we ask that council carefully considers how future assets can be allocated to address such inequality.”
Council must publicly notify changes to the Unitary Plan before August 20.